Jupiter’s strange atmosphere may have formed in a gigantic shadow

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Jupiter

The atmosphere of Jupiter, captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSA

The mix of gases that make up Jupiter’s atmosphere has long puzzled astronomers, but now it seems that the giant planet’s shadowy birthplace may be responsible.

Jupiter has a high ratio of nitrogen and noble gases in its atmosphere, but these gases are thought to only form in extremely cold temperatures. Although the average temperature in Jupiter’s clouds is around -150°C, this is still too warm for the gases to come together.

Previous ideas have suggested that Jupiter …

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